Most collectors recognize Peale as inventor of the steam powered press introduced at the Mint in 1836. What few are aware of is the extent to which Peale’s work changed the Mint, its coining capacity and the basic nature of U.S. coins. With help from Joseph Saxton and Adam Eckfeldt, and a wealth of detailed knowledge brought back from his European mission, Peale’s inventions converted the Mint from a backward haphazard operation into a technology-leading mint. By the early 1850s, the Philadelphia Mint could produce more good coins per day than any mint in the world, and these were made at labor and equipment costs far below the best European mints.
Peale’s “magic” was a combination of insightful use of technology, and simplification. For him, the best solution to a problem was not technology alone, it was a amalgamation of human capabilities with basic mechanical principles that produced the greatest return for the least amount of money, time and energy.
Titled Benjamin Franklin Peale – Inventions and Innovations for the United States Mint, 1835 to 1852, this magnificent research edition describes and illustrates every improvement and invention made by Peale for the U.S. Mint. Peale’s inventions turned the Mint from a backwater mint barely hobbling along, into the best, most modern and most economical national mint in the world.
From his well-known coinage press, to blank cutters, furnaces, electrotyping, die manufacturer, balances, hiring female employees, rolling mills, upsetting machines, coin counters - the list goes on and on, Franklin Peale literally reinvented the US Mint's equipment and operation.